A new trolley service started running downtown Waco on Friday in an effort to alleviate parking issues and traffic congestion in the downtown, especially near the Magnolia Market.
The Silo District Trolley allows riders to go around downtown in less than ten minutes. The free trolley will from Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The trolley route, is a flag-stop route, meaning riders can catch the bus at any safe location along the route.
According to the Director of the Marketing for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau Carla Pendergraft, 35,000 people visit Magnolia Market every week.
The city says it is trying to adjust to the high traffic and parking at the Magnolia Market for the visitors to have a good experience and to respond to their requests for eating and additional shopping when they want to explore downtown.
“We see this as a way to get visitors to Magnolia to free parking and to other wonderful places in Waco,” Pendergraft said.
She said the city wants to offer a great experience for visitors of downtown Waco.
"In any town where there are a lot of visitors coming, there needs to be a way to move them around and this is crucially important to create a good visitor experience for these people coming from all 50 states, overseas, from Texas and some from Waco,” Pendergraft said.
A Magnolia visitor from Fort Worth who didn’t know about the shuttle when News Channel 25 spoke with her said finding parking was not that easy.
"It was a little bit confusing whenever we pulled up. There were a lot of lots were you could pay a certain amount but we didn't want to pay that much. We kind of circled for a while and finally found a spot several blocks down from here,” Whitney Ensor said.
Ensor said she thought the trolley was a great idea.
"That would've been really helpful today for sure. We're getting sweaty today after the hike,” Ensor said.
Two riders of the shuttle had positive experiences on the first day it started running.
"It's a lot better than walking and standing in the sun. It's really nice,” Melissa Milligan said.
Jackson Young, a boy who rode the shuttle with his family expressed excitement about taking this form of transportation.
"I told my mom, I just want to keep riding this and keep our cars at home," said Young.
The city of Waco paid $21,000 for the temporary signage and the cost of the shuttle bus for a one month or two month period.
After that time, the involved parties, including Waco Transit, the city of Waco, downtown merchants and Magnolia, will work to see how to continue it. The Baylor DASH will resume once students return on campus, which will be considered to be included in that operation, according to the city.
"We tried [the shuttle service] one time before a while back and there wasn't a ridership as expected. But I think this time is going to be the charm,” Pendergraft said.
Magnolia will pay $10,000 per month for a police officer who will help with pedestrian crossing at University Parks Drive and Webster Avenue.
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